Bio Artist’s Statement
Merja Susanna Salonen Di Giorgio was born 1973 in Tampere. She lives and works in Helsinki. From 1998 on she has been working regularly in Italy, too.
The most important teckniques are oil on canvas and mixed media on paper as well as the environmental art.
Salonen Di Giorgio graduated with the Master of Arts degree at the Fine Arts Department, Pallas Program at the University of Art and Design, UIAH, Helsinki in 1999 (nowadays Aalto Univeristy).
She has the ordinary membership of the Finnish Painters´ Union.
Her paintings were exhibited for the first time in a juryed exhibition in 1995: the 48th Young Artists´Exhibition at Helsinki Taidehalli. Since then, Salonen di Giorgio has exhibited regularly in Finland and abroad.
To name some one man shows of paintings:
gallery G12, Helsinki, 2014
Lapinlahti Museum of Art, 2010
Taidesalonki, Helsinki 2010
Galleria Uusitalo, Helsinki, 2005
Galleria Katariina, Helsinki, 2000, 2014
Public works in Helsinki:
Piers, 2008, (concrete)
Memory Tracks, 2005 (concrete) and
Garden, 2000 (copper, alluminium, paint) Radisson blue Plaza, Mikonkatu 23.
In 1998-2000 Salonen Di Giorgio realised a foto exhibition Helsinki in Florence, Florence in Helsinki: Painterly details of walls shown directly in the streets, exhanging places of the subjects to study "genius loci".
In 2003 she published a book ´Helsinki in Florence, Florence in Helsinki ´about the project. The introduction was written byYrjö Larmola, the cultural director of the City of Helsinki.
In 2014 she published a book ´Grand Tour´ of her paintings with the introduction of MInerva Keltanen, the acting director of Sinebrychoff Art Museum, National Gallery of Finland.
Merja Salonen Di Giorgio´s work can be found among the following collections:
City of Helsinki,
Lahti Museum of Art
Tampere-Maja Association, Estonia, SOK, Aalto University and Okopankki Bank.
Have known that I would be an artist as long as I can remember so I do not feel that I ever needed to choose this profession. I don´t consider myself a female or male artist. Just artist. I don´t consider myself a Finnish artist. Just artist, a human.
Being an artist means to me making and showing art professionally but also freedom. I can observe phenomenon of the world from a outer perspective as if I was in the space a little bit. I can be free to make my personal choices individually. I can listen to life carefully and surprise myself in a positive way doing new things.
I have always had a feeling that I don´t belong to this time only time but that the layers of time are within each other
I find it interesting that the painting appears new and old at the same time. It also has layers of time on the top of each other.
I take iconic, eternal elements and materials for incredients to my paintings. I Enjoy and get puzzled in a nice way by the slowness of the process of making art. It reminds of the nature´s rhythm. It cannot be forced. I bonds me to the universe. Maybe just that is the reason that I make art.
I don´t care to be ironical in my art, although some find it fashionable. I don´t call my paintings political, either. In any case the paintings reflect their time, may the artist see them only as personal expression or not. Maybe this is because we are inside our time. I find it interesting. I avoid referring to accurate political matters in my art as I would find it cheap and short lasting, throwaway kind of subjects, uninteresting to me. I could refer the words of Tancredi in the book The Leopard / Gattopardo by Tomasi Di Lampedusa when he talks about the unification of Italy: "Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi." (If we want nothing to change, everything needs to be changed.) (own translation.)
The most interesting thing is to walk in different places and sense the atmosphere, the ´genius loci´ of the place. It´s interesting what kind of traces, material and non material, our existence leaves / produces.
The ruined town of Pompeii still carries the cheerful and carefree atmosphere of its past as a holiday town by the sea.
The subject of Grand Tour has been fuel for my artistic research for many years. Never stop learning and enjoying it. The Grand Tour places in Italy, traveling. From the year 2000 I have been living between two cultures in Italy and in Finland. How do the Grand Tour -places turn when they become every day places? How could people see their everyday life and its places always fresh and interesting, as for the first time?
I prepare a traditional ground for the oil pantings, because I appreciate the fresco-like surface it allows. I enjoy the history, the material tradition it brings within. I also like making mixed media works on paper. The material leads to some direction, and it´s interesting to follow it, sometimes to challenge it.
I also find interesting to work with conditions, especially with environmental art. I make the environmental pieces match the atmosphere of its place by reserching the place with all senses. Then I make the vision to surprise me. The space is a crucial item also in the paintings.
Often I play with the idea of ´flat´ and ´deep´ space in the painting and mix them playfully by creating ´windows´ as if they were ancient Roman wall paings, walls from Pompei.
Something in the environment ´plays` the artist, resonates in them so that he /she becomes únder the influence´ of it. The artist creates a piece of art that also becomes an instrument in a way. The piece of art `plays` the person who is watching it, resounds in them.
Usually I work in series and during the process of working I´m ´under the influence of the atmosprere´of it. To name some, the series of Gattopardo / Leopard, with its the elegantly decaded Sicilian noble palaces from the 1700´s with their secrets, bences, gardens, shadows.
That is the bubbling joy of life in the ruins of Pompei, the whispers in the temples of Selinunte and the hard stone walls of the fortres Sveaborg. My Grand Tour.
see also www.merjasalonen.net
The book is out in spring 2014:
-numbered edition 500
-156 pages, about 100 images of paintings
-contact for more info: mail(at) merjasalonen.net
available also in:
- Nide bookshop, Helsinki
-Galleria Katariina, Kalevankatu 16, Helsinki
-Suomenlinna C74, Bookstore of the Info Center, Helsinki
Cantabile, oil on canvas, 114 x 171 cm